By Michael Santo
Songbirds and Warner Bros. cartoon character Tweety Bird had best beware: Twitter is attempting to trademark the term “Tweet.” Don’t bother checking your calendar; it’s July, not April (Fool’s Day).
Seriously though, there are plenty of services opening up using the term Tweet, and although Tweet is a generic term (and thus may not be trademarkable), the company has every reason to try. As they note in a blog post:
There are lots of really awesome services and applications out there like TweetDeck, TweetMeme, Tweetie, BackTweets, Tweetboard, and others that we absolutely love as do many users. However, as the ecosystem grows there is also the possibility that confusing and potentially damaging projects could emerge.
We have applied to trademark Tweet because it is clearly attached to Twitter from a brand perspective but we have no intention of “going after” the wonderful applications and services that use the word in their name when associated with Twitter. In fact, we encourage the use of the word Tweet. However, if we come across a confusing or damaging project, the recourse to act responsibly to protect both users and our brand is important.
Regarding the use of the word Twitter in projects, we are a bit more wary although there are some exceptions here as well.
The blog post was a response to a report citing concerns Twitter allegedly had with a third-party app’s UI (a little too similar for comfort) and name.